Mum who ‘enjoyed torturing son’ cries in the dock as jailed for 27 years

A mother who took pleasure in causing pain to her son broke down in tears as she was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his killing. Her partner was also handed a minimum term of 32 years behind bars for the murder of nine-year-old Alfie Steele. The tragic incident unfolded in Droitwich, Worcestershire, where the young boy endured repeated beatings and was subjected to chilling mistreatment, including being held down in a cold bath.

Alfie tragically passed away on February 18, 2021, with a total of 50 injuries found on his body, resulting from being struck with a leather belt and forcibly submerged in the bath. Carla Scott, 35, Alfie’s mother, was convicted earlier in the week of manslaughter and child cruelty, while Dirk Howell, 41, was found guilty of murder.

During the sentencing at Coventry Crown Court, Mr. Justice Wall admonished the pair for their refusal, to tell the truth about the day of Alfie’s death, opting instead to fabricate a story of a tragic accident in an attempt to cover up their actions. The judge made it clear that Alfie’s death was far from peaceful, as Scott and Howell had chosen that particular day as yet another opportunity to inflict torment upon him.

The trial revealed that Alfie was regularly denied food as a form of cruelty and subjected to various sinister punishments, such as being locked outside their home on Vashon Drive in cold weather and forced to maintain a statue-like pose. Mr. Justice Wall informed Scott and Howell, the latter of whom received a life sentence with a minimum term of 32 years, that Alfie’s death resulted from drowning, concussive head trauma, or mechanical asphyxia.

The specific cause could not be determined by medical professionals, but the judge emphasized that it was ultimately their cruel and unlawful conduct toward the young boy that led to his demise. In particular, the judge accused Howell of sadistic behavior, stating his belief that Howell derived pleasure from inflicting pain, told Daily Mail.

Scott, residing on Vashon Drive, was found guilty of child cruelty, while Howell, residing on Princip Street in Birmingham, admitted to the same charge. Both denied involvement in Alfie’s killing but were convicted by the jury. As part of her sentence, Scott must serve half of a six-year term for the cruelty committed over 18 months, followed by a consecutive 21-year sentence for manslaughter, of which she must serve at least two-thirds in custody.

The overall effect of the sentence means that she will spend a minimum of 17 years in prison. A thorough review is currently underway regarding the involvement of social services and the police, prompted by multiple 999 calls from neighbors in April, May, and August 2020, which provided details of Alfie’s ordeal.

Before the sentencing, the court heard that Alfie had aspirations of becoming a soldier or a renowned rugby player. In a victim impact statement read by prosecutor Michelle Heeley KC, Alfie’s grandfather, Paul Scott, revealed that he was haunted by the knowledge that Alfie’s last words were cries for him. He described the sight of Alfie’s lifeless body being airlifted to the hospital as a never-ending nightmare and expressed the pain of knowing that Alfie would never have the chance to make his own decisions.

Alaina Scott, Alfie’s grandmother, also provided a statement, recalling the first time she met him when he was just 18 months old. She fondly remembered his embrace and his gentle, loving nature. She highlighted Alfie as the heart and soul of their family—a considerate, warm, and polite young boy who always offered help to people of all ages.

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